UFC

St-Pierre is obsessed with success

'It's hard to be champion, it's harder to stay champion,' says GSP.
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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.

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It's been more than six years since UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre tasted defeat and in that time he's managed to reel off 11 straight victories and eight consecutive title defenses since regaining the belt in 2008.

St-Pierre is tied with Matt Hughes for having the most wins in UFC history (18), and he's become the face of the franchise as the biggest cash cow in the industry bringing more eyeballs to his fights than any other.

Through stardom and fame, trial and tribulation, St-Pierre has remained on top and that's no easy feat to accomplish. His fight career has been nothing short of astonishing and his life outside the cage is anything but controversial. The Canadian superstar has never found his name attached to bad publicity or outrageous headlines, and he hasn't ever ended up with a mugshot or as a subject of a police blotter in his down time.

All rolled into one, St-Pierre is the model citizen inside and outside the Octagon and that didn't happen by mistake. The long-reigning welterweight champion says it all goes back to how he wants to be remembered when his time in the sport is finished, and that's the most important thing he can leave behind when it's all said and done.

"I want to leave a legacy and the only way to leave a legacy is by performing in the Octagon. I try to be the best I can be inside the Octagon and be a good role model and be the best I can be outside the Octagon as well," St-Pierre told FOX Sports on Monday.

St-Pierre's next challenge will come at UFC 167 against top rated contender Johny Hendricks, and some are calling him the toughest test that the welterweight champion has ever faced. Whether he wins or loses will be determined on Saturday night, but what separates St-Pierre from every other champion on the UFC's roster is his willingness and determination to leave nothing to chance come fight night.

He knows that being ready is the one thing he can always control, and that's what has helped make St-Pierre such a tremendous champion — maybe the best there's ever been.

"Not only (does) it have something to do with my physical attributes and athleticism, but also with the mental. I'm very obsessed about what I want," St-Pierre said. "For example for this fight, as soon as I got my hand raised with Nick Diaz I started thinking about Johny Hendricks, and I started preparing a few days after that fight, I started preparing for this fight. I've been preparing for this fight for a very long time.

"It has to do with the hours of work I put in, by doing this I slot the odds in my advantage. It's hard to be champion, it's harder to stay champion because you are the target and everybody looks at you and they want to have what you have. So every time I finish a fight, bang, I focus on what's the next thing and right away my mind is on the next thing. I'm completely obsessed about that. I believe that's one of the reasons why I've been able to stay champion."

If St-Pierre wins at UFC 167, he will stand alone as the fighter with the most wins ever inside the Octagon while sitting just one more win away from tying Anderson Silva's record for the most title defenses in UFC history. Despite his dominance, however, St-Pierre still sits behind light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the mythical pound-for-pound rankings, and that's after he sat behind Anderson Silva for the last few years as well.

Opinions vary according to St-Pierre, who looks at another legend of the Octagon as the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time, but he's in this sport to be remembered as the greatest that's ever competed. If Jon Jones is rated higher currently, St-Pierre isn't sweating it — but by the time his career is finished he just wants to be able to look in the mirror and say he did everything he could to be the best there's ever been.

"It matters," St-Pierre said about the pound-for-pound rankings. "People have different opinions on everything. Everybody has their own problems at different weight classes and at different times. For me the best of all time, pound for pound without a doubt is Royce Gracie. For his time and what he did was incredible, and that's why I believe he was the best pound for pound.

"You can win as many fights as you want, there's always some people, it's very debatable. Some people will say, 'Oh he's the best', some people say, 'No he doesn't have a good weight class', it was not as competitive as the other guy for example. So you have to do it for yourself and what's important to me, I'm doing it for myself and what I want to leave as a legacy for myself, and to my fans. The image that I want to leave is important."

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